Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New Russians

A review of Nightwatch

Nightwatch, in one of its many subplots, features a deadly, world-ending curse. The movie itself suffers the curse of The Matrix: a puerile love for building an inconsistency-ridden mythology, the substitution of visual style for character, and woefully uneven plotting. Nightwatch even comes first in a trio, but unlike the original Matrix does not even provide any fun, male empowerment fantasy gunfights.

The movie follows Anton, an unlikable and greasy young Russian who has a bad run-in with a witch that opens his eyes to The Others. These Others live among us and come in two flavors: light and dark, although they all seem to be greasy Russian vampires. And some of them claim that they can change into animals, but they don’t. And his buddies the Light Others drive a magic utility truck. And Anton can see the future, only not very accurately and not after about half an hour into the movie, when the writers seem to have forgotten that he had that particular power.

Anyway, Anton runs afoul of a vampire hairdresser who stabs him repeatedly with scissors. He also finds a mysterious boy who is clearly going on to big things but spends the first part of the movie wandering around with a nosebleed and cowering. At one point the boy watches a few seconds of the episode of Buffy where she meets Dracula (this got a bigger reaction from the theater audience than any of the set pieces). At the end of the movie Anton fights a big villain who uses his own spine as a weapon (inexplicably, this is mirrored in scenes from a fictional video game, which looked a lot more fun than the movie; a similar technique is used to marginally greater effect in the abominable French action movie Samoura├»s). He also makes friends with a magic owl who turns into an unattractive Russian actress. The visual effects, which are the only possible reason one might see this movie, are generally headache-inducing and unnecessarily gory; also, like the rest of the movie, they rarely make sense (why does Anton’s arm grow waxy and blue when he and his owl sidekick are voyaging through the spectral realm of the Gloom?). Terrible.

1 comment:

katiebrens said...

i saw this with ari and couldn't agree more with his assessment. complete crap.

i still love russians, though. AND chapstick!